tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC March 8, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
tonight on "world news," solar storm. what happened today when that massive blast of solar flares hit the earth? and why scientists say this is just the start of a mean season for the sun. hollywood magic? the president unveils his secret weapon, tom hanks. a movie by his hollywood friends launches his race for the white house. consumer watchdog. a huge reaction after our investigation of pink slime, that filler in the ground beef you buy at the supermarket. tonight, we answer your questions. and smarter than your average bear. amazing, new pictures. is that a bear with a sponge? if it's the proof we aren't the
only geniuses on earth? good evening. as we come on the air tonight, planet earth is wrapped in a kind of cosmic electric blanket, surrounded by solar flares, ten-times more powerful than anything we've seen in years. the flares bombard the earth's magnetic field. in fact, some airports had to make detours in order to clear. and the nation's top scientists are monitoring the power grids. abc's sam champion has been tracking this all day and tells us what those scientists are seeing so far. >> reporter: these are the eruptions on the surface of the sun. solar flares more than 5,000 miles high, and more powerful than a volcanic eruption, that sent today's solar storm barreling down to earth. setting off a white-knuckle watch for trouble. inside the nation's mission control for space weather, all eyes were tracking the storm round the clock, looking for impact and watching closely for
any new flare-ups on the surface of the sun. >> this region really hasn't shown any signs of diminishing. so, the threat is still there. >> reporter: that's bad news for the airlines, power utilities and gps providers, all who spent the day on the lookout, for any disruptions since the storms are powerful enough to knockout modern communications. delta and american airlines rerouted several flights just out of precaution. fortunately, the worst did not occur. predictions of a powerful storm eased for now. we don't feel the direct effect of the solar flares because the magnetic particles of the sun are invisible. but don't be fooled during these storms. the particles are reigning down on you at a speed of around 4 million miles an hour all the way to earth from the surface of the sun. solar storms can be serious. some examples, fall 2003. there were blackouts in europe. astronauts on the international space station had to take cover.
in 1989, 6 million people lost power in quebec, leaving the entire province in the dark. along with all the threats, there is one beautiful plus. americans will be able to see a dazzling display of northern lights, as far south as michigan and maine. it seems we should get used to hearing about these solar storm warnings because the sun has an 11-year kind of cycle. and it seems like we're in the peak of that active cycle. >> this is over tomorrow morning. can you predict the next one? >> it seems trickier to predict than predicting the weather. in order to get the release today, the scientists knew the sun was going to throw a ball at us. they thought it would be a hard, fast ball. and it was a soft, curve ball. they're not as good as we would like them. >> somebody said it was like shaking up the atmosphere like a snow globe on the earth. >> yes. >> thank you, sam. and the president is shaking things up, too, in "your voice, your vote," tonight. we got our first look, today,
out of the insider playbook, how he hopes to lay out his case in november. it's a documentary called "the road we traveled." it's a little hollywood magic and a familiar voice. abc's jake tapper explains. >> reporter: the highly-produced film is narrated by forrest gump, tom hanks. instead of forrest run, it's run, obama run. it seems to refrain the election from a referendum on president obama, to a reminder of how rough things were when he took office three years ago. >> advisers asked where to begin. which urgent need would he put first? >> which is one? which is two? which is three? which is four? which is five? where do you start? >> reporter: the film is by david guggenheim, who won an oscar for "an inconvenient truth." the inconvenient truth for president obama is that with a current approval rating at below
50%, his odds of re-election are likelier if he makes the election not about him. >> how do we understand this president and his term in office? do we look at the day's headlines? or do we remember what we, as a country, have been through? >> reporter: those headlines are that the unemployment rate when president obama took office was 7.8%. it went up to 10%. and it's now 8.3%. gas prices, when the president took office averaged $1.84 a gallon. it's now $3.79 a gallon. and home values have gone down since the president took office. there's been more than 2.8 million foreclosures under his watch. the film underlines that the economic crisis began well before the president took office. cites his accomplishments. and burnishes his counterterrorism credentials by mentioning his decision to launch a successful mission against osama bin laden. >> all along, this is his
decision. nobody is standing there with him. >> reporter: president obama has his work cut out for him with the democratic base, compared to four years ago, diane. democrats are deflated. and republicans are much more enthusiastic about voting this november. diane? >> jake tapper, at his post at the white house tonight. and another headline out of washington today about american families. the nation's top doctor, the surgeon general, sounded an alarm about teenagers and smoking. a new report finds that nearly one in five high school students is smoking. if a child starts smoking in junior high or high school, there's an 80% chance they'll be smokers for life. there has been some progress on this front until a decade ago. but that progress has slowed to a crawl. and now, every 1 of the 443,000 americans who die each year from smoking is being replaced by 2 young smokers just starting out. and now, if you opened your e-mail today, you may have seen the signs of something new in
this 21st century world. is it possible that the most powerful army, today, is not military but a collection of celebrities, students and ordinary people, trying to transform human rights around the globe? someone probably sent you the video, shining a spotlight on a brutal war lord in africa, joseph kony. it was posted on monday. and as of this moment, it has been seen nearly 40 million times. is this the new way to move the world to action? here's abc's cecilia vega. >> reporter: it's a stunning youtube sensation. a true phenomenon. a movie with an unusual mission, to bring down one of africa's moat ruthless war lords. >> we are going to make joseph kony a household name. >> reporter: kony is the leader of the lord's resistance army, which has terrorized uganda, forcing thousands of girls to become sex slaves and young boys to kill. behind the movie, a group called invisible children. the filmmaker waging his own
war. >> we want him captured and alive for the trial at the international criminal court. that's what we're asking for. >> reporter: the film urged viewers to call, e-mail, tweet 32 culture and policymakers, from george clooney to lady gaga to bill clinton. the idea? to create a celebrity army to enlist even more supporters. and it worked. the video was posted on youtube monday. then tuesday, filmmakers say the oprah effect kicked in. as she and other stars, like justin bieber and ryan seacrest, tweeted about it. the number of clicks skyrocketed, passing the 25 million mark yesterday, sweeping past 38 million today. >> you have half an hour of your life. watch the video. >> reporter: at one point, 4% of all tweets were about kony's crimes. it's quite simply a phenomenon. >> i'm aware of it and have been briefed on it. >> reporter: but this movie is not without critics. some say kony's guerrilla army, though still dangerous, is no longer terrorizing uganda.
and the united states already has 100 special forces in the region. the critics are weighing in heavily on facebook, too. raising questions about the faith-based group behind the movie and whether the money it has raised goes directly to the children of uganda. his mission is simple. nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. cecilia vega, abc news, los angeles. now, the latest on the abc news investigation in what is in the ground beef you buy at the supermarket. last night, a whistle-blower told us about what he is calling pink slime, a kind of filler used to pump up the volume of meat. our report sparked an avalanche of e-mails from you. and today, we asked jim avila to tackle some of them. including your number one question. how to tell if there's pink slime in your dinner.
>> reporter: it's in 70% of the ground beef sold at supermarkets. up to 25% of each american hamburger patty. a cheap filler known as pink slime. we wanted to see it. but the factory said no pictures. >> it kinda looks like play dough. it's pink and frozen. it's not what the typical layperson would consider meat. >> reporter: the last-known glimpse, six years ago. the movie "food inc.," was given a tour of the factory. the low-grade trimmings in the once only used in dog food and cooking oil. but because of the company's treatment, simmering it in low heat, a centrifuge to separate the fat and tissue, a spritz of ammonia gas to kill the germs, and a quick freeze, the usda says it's safe to eat. that's the final product there. the company calls it finely-textured lean beef. flash-frozen and boxed. more like gelatin and not as nutritious as ground beef. kit foshee who was once number
two at bpi, says that's because the protein comes mostly from connective tissue, not muscle meat. >> it will fill you up. but won't do any good. >> reporter: today, we were flooded with questions from concerned viewers. >> which grocery stores near me do or don't sell ground beef that contains ammonia-treated pink slime? >> how can consumers find out which retailers do use this pink slime? >> reporter: so, we went out abc news producers to stores across the country to the meat section, to see if it's in the ground beef they sell. most couldn't tell us for sure. >> there is no way to know, from labels or even from the butchers here whether it contains that pink slime. >> the guy at the meat counter said that he had been getting the same question all day long. >> reporter: we e-mailed the top-ten grocers in america. publix, costco, h.e.b. and whole foods assured us they don't use pink slime. no word yet from the rest. but know this -- if your meat is stamped usda organic, it's pure meat, no questionable filler. but everything else is suspect, say critics, because pink slime
does not have to appear on the label. and the usda is giving no indication it will force meatpackers to lift the veil of secrecy anytime soon. jim avila, abc news, washington. >> and jim answers a lot more of your questions, posted online at our website at abcnews.com. keep sending them to us. and let us know what your supermarkets say when you ask them about what's in the meat. and another word about the food in every american home. word that the soda giants coke and pepsi will be tweaking their secret recipes. they're going to change how the ingredients that give soda its brown hue is made. it's called caramel color. and the new recipe will call for less of the chemical 4mei. a california law would have forced coke and pepsi to label their soda with a cancer warning. with this change, they don't
have to. you can be the judge. and still ahead here on "world news," watch this. deadly shoot-out. and acts of violence. a new report on how many shadowy american groups are willing to die to take down the u.s. government. and we'll take you inside their world. [ female announcer ] lactaid milk is easy to digest.
an alarming headline today announcing there is a huge spike in the number of americans operating in the shadows, trying to take down the u.s. government even with violence. a new study find there's are now nearly 1,300 militias and other extremist groups in this country. an increase from 149 groups in 2008. and one of the fastest-growing groups is called sovereign citizens. tonight, abc's dan harris gets a rare look inside their world in this abc news investigation. >> reporter: 16-year-old joe kane emerges from a vehicle and kills two police officers. then he and his dad, in that white van, die in a blaze of bullets in a walmart parking lot. joe stack flies his small plane into an irs building in austin, texas. brody whitaker leads police on a high-speed chase, exchanging
fire, escaping through the woods. >> i am not an american citizen. >> reporter: all are members of the sovereign citizens movement, estimated at 300,000 strong. they believe the laws of america do not apply to them. abc news was able to get inside this movement, starting, of all places, at this diner near tampa, where instead of men in camo, we found a diverse group who argued the real threat is not them, but the u.s. government. >> we are the commanders. and the government works for us. >> you can google it. google united states concentration camps. and there's like hundreds of them. and then -- >> reporter: you can google the easter bunny and that will come up, too. most insisted they are nonviolent, but not all of them ruled it out. >> i'm not trying to impress abc news about how friendly we are. i don't give a crap how friendly anybody is. if they come at me with a gun, i have a gun, too. okay? that's what i'm about.
>> reporter: what sets sovereigns apart from militias is for the most part, they are not using guns, but legal theories based on obscure laws, the constitution, as well as the bible. all of it deployed to justify flouting laws and avoid paying off debts and taxes. we traveled to alabama, where we met donald joe barber, a pastor of a small church. in your view, do you need to have a driver's license? >> no. >> reporter: what about taxes? income tax? >> no. >> reporter: law enforcement officials fear that as barber and thousands of other sovereigns realize their theories don't fly, they will turn to violence. barber, however, insists his is a principled, peaceful struggle. >> just as a soldier goes over to iraq or to iran or any other country to fight a battle, he is going over there because he loves his country. i can't do any less. >> reporter: so, is that your view of what you're doing? >> yes. >> reporter: fighting for your country? >> yes. >> dan, what does law
enforcement plan to do about this growing number? >> reporter: quite a bit now. the fbi said this is a top priority for them. and the southern law center, the group that issued the report. they made a dvd for local law enforcement officials that might encounter sovereign citizens. in the last year alone, they said they got 90,000 requests for that dvd from cops all over the country. >> i know you'll have more on your reporting tonight on "nightline." including the story of a police officer whose son was killed by the militia. and how he's fighting back tonight. coming up right here, secrets of the "titanic," unearthed on the ocean floor. what the new clues tell us about the drama, as that ship sank. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job. so why are you doing his? only your doctor can determine if your persistent heartburn is actually something more serious... like acid reflux disease. over time, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. for many, prescription nexium not only provides 24-hour heartburn relief, but can also help heal acid related erosions in
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talk to your doctor to see if orencia is right for you. and see if you can change "i want" to "oh, yes i can!" now, some news about this very warm winter and your breakfast table. turns out the warmth is playing havoc with new england's maple trees. a blow to the maple syrup industry. the sap has been flowing much too soon because of the warmth. so, the concentration of sugar is extremely low. this will not be a vintage year. by the way, it was a record 68 degrees in boston today. and a day out for queen elizabeth and princess kate today. thousands turned out to meet them in the british city of lester. the first stop of the queen's diamond jubilee celebrating 60 years on the throne. they took in a fashion show by college students. and kate told one well-wisher, she missed her husband, prince william, quote, terribly.
he is serving in the falkland islands. searchers have detailed a complete map of the "titanic" grave. it shows that the "titanic" met a much more violent end than we once thought. the stern rotated like a helicopter blade, as the big ship went down. and it went down 100 years ago next month. coming up, you've seen the act pus and the jar. and the orangutan and the ipad? well, tonight, there's something new going on in the animal kingdom. new going on in the animal kingdom. a bear taking a sponge bath? ♪ [ male announcer ] the dodge journey was made to explore the real world. it has under-seat storage to bring everything, available seating for up to seven people to take everyone, and the grip of available all-wheel drive to go everywhere. think of it as a search engine helping you browse the real world.
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one thing you can depend on is that these will come together. delicious and wholesome. some combinations were just meant to be. tomato soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. and now, that news from the animal kingdom. one headline put it this way. forget the apes. fear of the bear, who has emerged a lot smarter than we thought. here's abc's matt gutman. >> reporter: we humans may not be as special as we thought. and this brown bear may prove it. he is apparently using a stone to clean his face. sixty seconds later, the bear dropped the first stone and picked up a scratchier one. that makes it a tool say experts.
so, add one more animal to the pantheon of tool users, something we used to think was uniquely human. >> tool-using is pretty unique. it assumes that the animal needs to think about, if i do this, then this will happen. and that's actually pretty deep concept-thinking. >> reporter: youtube is full of examples. otters smash open clams with rocks. and hungry octopus can open a jar to get its own lunch. crows will bend a wire to fish out a meal. this elephant uses a box like a stepladder. and dolphins use sea sponges as protective gear when they forage. animals may even use tools for fun. remember that now-famous crow using a jar lid as a snowboard? and at jungle island in miami, we paid a visit to the brainiacs of the animal kingdom who groom themselves, even paint. >> can you touch mango?
mango. >> thank you. >> reporter: the einstein of the animal kingdom. >> that's what we call her. >> reporter: that's right. bear uses rock, orangutan uses ipad. matt gutman, abc news, miami. >> and human is delighted. we thank you for watching. we're always on at abcnews.com. "nightline," again, will be here later. and we hope to see you right back here to close out this week on this friday night. have a wonderful evening. good night.